Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its full support for the Osun-Osogbo Grove, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a view to reposition it for global attention.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed enthused that Nigeria was blessed with diverse heritage sites capable of boosting domestic tourism, which, if maximally harnessed and exploited, would boost economic development.
Mohammed stated this in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, during his visit to the Osun-Osogbo Grove.
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) December 17, 2019
His visit, the Minister explained, was intended to renew national and global attention to the grove and to formally announce the Federal Government’s plan to enlist more sites as World Heritage Sites.
“We want to beam a searchlight on the grove and draw more global attention to it,” he said.
Mohammed, who expressed delight at the sacred character of the ancient grove, along with its tourism potential, said: “You will agree with me that this is indeed an extraordinary site worthy of its declaration as a World Heritage Site.
“As you are aware, Nigeria has many veritable sites that meet the requirements of being declared World Heritage Sites.
“Nigeria is really blessed with a lot of potential sites. We are taking immediate steps to first enlist the sites on the tentative list, after which they can be inscribed as World Heritage Sites,” the Minister added.
Among the heritage sites being proposed for enlistment by the Federal Government are the Kano City Walls, the Brazilian Baracoon Museum/Point of No Return in Badagry, the forests in Oke-Igbo, Ile Oluji Axis of Ondo State, the Gashaka-Gumti National Park in Taraba and the Ogbunike Caves in Anambra State.
The Minister also disclosed that the UN General Assembly’s recent election of Nigeria into the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was a positive development for the Federal Government’s quest to have more sites designated as World Heritage Sites.
Mohammed warned land grabbers threatening the buffer zone around the Osun-Osogbo Grove, saying: “We will do whatever is possible within the law to keep ‘encroachers’ at bay,” he said.
The Minister also made assurances of the Federal Government’s participation in the 2020 Osun-Osogbo Festival as an international showcase.
In his remark, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola expressed his continued support for the grove to maintain its status as a tourist centre and economy booster.
“Osun is the home of culture and tourism in Nigeria. We are blessed with cultural tourism centres. We need to develop it and attract tourists to generate more revenue,” Oyeyola said.
The Governor called for investments in culture and tourism to stimulate the economy.